Monday, June 16, 2008

Conversations with a 4 year old...

Today was one of those days.

One of those days where I was feeling sick when I got up. (Though whether it is allergies or a cold, I just don’t know.) The kids were good this morning. I took them out for a walk/bike ride after lunch. It took all that was in me to get them out there. Just the effort of getting myself ready (and out of my pj’s) was almost more than I could do. But we took our walk and spent some time at the park. Then we all came home and took naps.

One of the very fun things about nap time that I really enjoy. We either pile on the bed, or the couch depending on their mood, and read books. I get snuggled and hugged from both sides, and get to read books to the kids. It is so much fun to have that time with them, and they love reading.

After I settle down Marina in their room, I meet Peter on my bed. Today we snuggled a bit together, and then I’m not sure who fell asleep first. I think it might have been me, in mid-prayer.

Tonight, when supper was done, Peter, Marina and I headed down to see Daddy as he worked on projects in the garage. After much playing with chalk and drawing on themselves, the driveway, the car, the new bike, and the opportunity for me to fold 2 loads of clothes (miracle in an of itself!!!) We got them inside for their bath time.

Then came the snuggle where we watched a little TV, then Peter wanted to watch Animal Cops, on Animal Planet, after Rina was in bed. For some reason, he really likes to see the animals as they are brought in to be taken care of and helped by the vets. He has a tender heart towards animals, even all the ones that his Grandpa catches at the farm and then eventually releases back to the wild.

Then Peter and I snuggled on my bed again to read, pray, and cuddle before he went to his own bed in their room. In the dark, as we lay there, he started asking me questions about God.

You know how 4 year olds can be.

The questions can get quite interesting, and sometimes really hard to answer.
Things like:

How big is God?

Does He come in and out of my tummy (heart) to make the stars?

If He is so big that He can be everywhere, why can’t I see Him?

God came out of Barbara’s tummy. When I questioned him about that one, he said that Barbara died (a great aunt) and so God came out of her tummy.

At one point in the conversation, especially when he was trying to understand how big God was, and how He could know all our thoughts, all at the same time, I remembered Psalm 139.

I still have it memorized, so I told it to him as a story, simplifying the words so he would have a better chance of understanding… that God knows him and me, when we get up and lie down, when we go out to do something, and when we come in. God knows our thoughts and words before we even say them. If we try to run away from God we can’t. If we go up to heaven He is there. If we go to the very bottom of the earth, He is there… we can try to make a new home on the other side of the world, but still God is there. He made us in our mother’s tummy, so he knows all about us, even before we were born.

Peter lay with his head on my shoulder for a long time, just absorbing that.
I said to him, “that is pretty hard to understand, isn’t it?” He nodded. I told him that I don’t understand it all either. But I also told him that any time he had questions, he could ask me and I would try to give him the answers, and if I didn’t know them, I would find the answers and tell him.

I love that time of night when Peter settles down and wants to cuddle in the dark close to me, and when he feels free to open up and talk about the things that he has been thinking about.

They are such precious moments. I know these times with my children won’t last long. Helpful words from my counselor and another friend reminded me that my kids need me to be so involved in their lives. God has placed two people right in my own home that need outreach. They are my mission field. They are our mission field, for my husband and I.

It is such an awesome responsibility.

It is more than I could possibly handle without God helping me and giving me the answers, the guidance, the patience, the love required to guide these little people closer to Him. I can’t do this without giving up some of the things that I want to do, the selfishness that I am so prone to, and I don’t do this naturally. Only God can help me overcome that selfishness. Only Jesus can model to me what it means to be self-less, care for those around him, teach those closest to Him, have compassion for everyone He came into contact with. Yet, He still knew when He needed to take time to be on His own with His father, rest and refresh Himself for more ministry.

I have seen where I have taken too much advantage of Dave’s parents in having them take care of the kids so I can do what I want, without them around “bothering” me. That is the selfishness. The other extreme is taking care of them, to the exclusion of my husband, and the exclusion of the health of my marriage, and the exclusion of my own spiritual health.

So, I am trying (not always successfully) to spend a bit of time in the morning with a devotional journal. Then get on the computer, only when the kids are involved in playing with each other, or better yet, when they are asleep. Once everyone is in bed, like now, and the house is quiet, I can blog and journal on my own, without interruption, and spend some of that time I need for myself.

It’s a re-commitment to what I know I need to do, and have started and stopped over and over the past month or so. The devotional in the morning is easy, but the keeping away from the computer is much harder. I suppose that means, I should set myself some “screen time” limits, so that I spend more of my time with my family, rather than addicted to this computer, huh?

Time to start applying those things that I have been learning lately. As Lelia mentioned in a previous comment, time to chew over and meditate on each thing that I have learned so it becomes part of me, part of my life.

Again, one step at a time.

Step by Step.

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